Mini Camp Rules for the Broncos (and the Rest of the League)

May 21, 2012; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman (34) during organized team activities at the Broncos training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

The Denver Broncos will hold their final offseason Mini Camp tomorrow. This is the mandatory veteran Mini Camp and will last 3 days just like all other Mini Camps do. All of the players should be in attendance, meaning Franchised tagged Kicker Matt Prater will either sign his tender or we will be reporting an extension. Hopefully the latter. Rookie Quarterback Brock Osweiler and Running Back Ronnie Hillman are the only unsigned players left. Hopefully all three will get their deals completed today and not miss any time.

With the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) being signed last August, the regulations have changed the way teams can go about their offseason business. Here is what the CBA has to say about NFL Mini Camps.

Clarification: This Mini Camp is Mandatory for players under contract. Because Matt Prater hasn't signed his franchise tender, he cannot be fined for his absence. He won't be considered a "hold out" until Training Camp begins. However, it has been reported that negotiations are ongoing. Bottom Line: Don't read anything into it. Prater will have plenty of time to be prepared for Week 1. -- KK

ARTICLE 22 MINICAMPS

Section 1. Number: Each League Year each Club may hold a maximum of one manda-tory minicamp for veteran players. If a Club hires a new head coach after the end of the prior regular season, that Club may hold one additional voluntary minicamp for veteran players. Any mandatory minicamp for veteran players shall count as one of the nine weeks of the Club’s official offseason workout program under Article 21, Section 2(a) of this Agreement. There is no limitation on the number of minicamps a Club may hold for Rookie players during the seven weeks of the Club’s Rookie Football Development Program.

Section 2. Mandatory Veteran Minicamp: No mandatory veteran minicamp may exceed three days in length, plus one day for physical examinations. The minicamp must be conducted during the week (Monday through Friday), with physicals taking place on Monday but no practice or workouts on that day, practices on Tuesday through Thurs-day and a day off on Friday. The minicamp must be conducted during week three or week four of Phase Three of the Club’s offseason workout program. The Phase Three rules set forth in Article 21, Section 2(b)(iii) of this Agreement shall apply to all mini-camp activities. Two-a-day practices shall be permitted at two of the three practice days of the Club’s one mandatory minicamp, subject to the following rules: (i) players may be on the field for a total of no more than three and one-half hours per day; (ii) players may participate in one practice for no more than two and one-half hours of on-field activities under Phase Three rules; (iii) the second practice may only be for the remaining portion of the players’ daily three and one-half hour on-field activities and shall be limited to walk-through instruction only; (iv) no organized team activities (including treatment and taping) may begin prior to 7:00am local time or end after 8:30pm local time, and players shall be given at least one hour for lunch and dinner each; (v) players may only be asked to participate in Club activities for a maximum of ten hours per day including taping and treatment but excluding meal time. The on-field time limits described above shall begin as soon as position coaches begin to coach players on the field.

Section 3. Voluntary Veteran Minicamp: Any voluntary minicamp for veteran players must be conducted prior to the College Draft, but no earlier than week three of the Club’s offseason workout program and after at least one week of the two weeks of Phase One activities that the Clubs may hold pursuant to Article 21. In the event the NFL elects to move the College Draft to a date that would require the Club to schedule its voluntary minicamp for veteran players during a week that is earlier than week three of the Club’s offseason workout program, the NFLPA and NFL shall agree to a change in such rule. Voluntary minicamps for veteran players shall be subject to the rules set forth in Section 2 above.

Section 4. Expenses:

(a) Any veteran player who attends a minicamp will receive meal allowances in accordance with Article 34, Section 1 of this Agreement, plus all travel expenses to and from the camp, plus "per diem" payments at the rate provided in Article 23, Section 4 of this Agreement. In addition, the Club will provide housing at minicamps for players coming from out-of-town.

(b) If a "first-year player" (as defined as in Article 23, Section 1) signed a Player Contract with any Club for the prior League Year, he shall receive, for each day that he attends minicamp, the following compensation, but no other compensation: (i) the prorated portion of the weekly per diem specified for the current League Year (as set forth in Article 23, Section 3); (ii) the meal allowance specified for the current League Year (as set forth in Article 34, Section 1); and (iii) all travel expenses to and from the camp, plus housing (for players coming from out-of-town).

(c) Any "rookie player" (defined as a person who has never signed a Player Contact with an NFL Club in a prior League Year) shall not be entitled to compensation for his participation in any minicamp, other than the reimbursements or payments per-mitted under the Club’s Rookie Orientation Program.

Section 5. Contact: There will be no contact work (e.g., "live" blocking, tackling, pass rushing, bump-and-run) or use of pads (helmets permitted) at minicamps.

Section 6. Injuries: Any player injured in a Club’s minicamp shall be protected in the same manner as if injured during the Club’s preseason training camp.

Section 7. Rookie Football Development Programs and Minicamps: Each Club may hold a Rookie football development program for a period of seven weeks, com-mencing on or about May 16. During this period, no mandatory or voluntary activities can be held on weekends, with the exception of the Club’s one post-Draft Rookie Mini-camp, which at the Club’s election may be conducted on either the first or second weekend following the College Draft. Players may only participate in Club activities for a maximum of ten hours per day.

Section 8. Films: Clubs shall film all on-field activities from any minicamp, and shall maintain a copy of such films until thirty days after the start of the regular season. The NFLPA may view such films (after signing a confidentiality agreement satisfactory to the NFL at the start of each League Year) only upon the filing of a complaint alleging a violation of this Article.

Section 9. Enforcement: Any alleged violation of Sections 1, 2, 3, 5 or 7 of this Article shall be governed by the same procedures, and shall be subject to the same fines and fine procedures, as set forth in Article 21, Section 8, except that the "Other Penalties" set forth in Article 21, Section 8(d)(ii) shall not apply to any violation of this Article.

Section 10. Participation Agreement: The requirements of Article 22, Section 3 or Article 22, Section 9 (as applicable), apply to players participating in a Club’s minicamp

For a comparison look, I wrote a piece on the Rookie Mini Camp rules 2 seasons ago here. You can see the progressive changes made between the players and the NFL.

After this week ends, there shouldn't be much more to report until Training Camp. Hopefully the players stay focused during their respite and keep clear of trouble.

And for those of you who are wondering, the first preseason game against the Chicago Bears is on Thursday August 9th, a mere 59 days away.

Go Broncos!

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